The elections to be held tomorrow in many North Carolina communities might not have generated the widespread buzz of last November's national balloting, with a presidency and top state offices on the line. But that's to be expected. After all, because of where they live, some people won't even be entitled to vote this time around.
What's crystal clear is that those who do take advantage of their voting privileges will be helping to make decisions that can profoundly affect their and their neighbors' quality of life. In Raleigh, for example, all eight seats on the City Council, including the mayor's, will be filled. These are the folks who set tax rates, decide where public funds will be spent to keep the city safe and clean, and write the ground rules for new development. It matters who gets to make these calls.
Voters in four slices of Wake County will be choosing school board members -- public servants to whom we entrust the leadership of the schools and in many respects the futures of our young people. And because a successful system of public schools is a priceless community asset, the decisions made by these officials bear in crucial ways on the desirability of Wake County as a place to live, to raise families, to do business.
The News & Observer, as is our custom, has evaluated the candidates in each of these sets of local races. Our editorial endorsement has gone to those whom we view as the best qualified by virtue of their experience, their records of civic involvement and their stands on significant issues. Those endorsements are summarized here.
Local election contests can be fought below the radar of constant advertising and nonstop media attention, but they can be intense, reflecting what's at stake in people's home communities. The ones this year are no different. But faith in democracy holds that the sometimes sharp, even bitter disagreements that boil up during campaigns are best resolved when everyone who has the privilege shows up at the polls. Our hope is that everyone who can vote, does, and that the winners carry on wisely for the good of all.